I had been previously not for re-signing Peavy, because of his problems in the post-season and my expectations on what he would be asking for (he was getting $14-15M in last contract and might want 3+ years).
But at $12M AAV and only two years, I can live with his limitations, as you can't make the playoffs without winning during the regular season, and he seems to be good at pitching very well in the regular season. He had extreme problems pitching on the road for Boston, for whatever reasons, and hopefully it was the NL parks he grew up in as a major leaguer that made him comfortable with us, as well as having his buddy Bochy around as manager, and new buddies Bumgarner and Hudson around.
And assuming Bumgarner's arm is OK and ready for another run, Cain's body is as healthy as reported and ready to return to prior goodness, and Lincecum will get the mechanical guidance from his father that will keep him from going off the reservation too often and returning him back to the straight and narrow faster when he does, one could expect the final playoff rotation spot to be a battle between Hudson and Peavy (or probably Lincecum, Hudson, Peavy battling for two spots, as I'm only hoping that Lincecum can deliver a season much like Hudson regularly delivers, a mid-to-high 3 ERA season).
Peavy is Fine as Mid to Back of Rotation Guy
For me, Peavy is fine as a mid to back of playoff rotation starter, better than having Dirty as our 4th in 2010, better than having Zito as our 4th in 2012 (though Zito pitched much much better than a 4th, so good for him and for us). He's never had a DOM start in the playoffs, but have put together some decent starts, willing his way to OK results on occasion.
Plus, maybe he'll finally put it together for us in the playoffs by being our #4 instead of #2, as he was in this year's playoffs, less pressure and all that. Plus, players can get better, Hudson actually had a spotty playoff record until this season, but whereas before he was the ace of the staff, for us he was back of rotation. Playoff pressure is a much higher level of difficulty for major leaguers to get over and adjusted to.
The key things for me was his great DOM% and low DIS% (PQS metrics) during the last few years, and those were why I wanted him back in the first place. His poor ERAs in spite of the good DOM% and low DIS% suggest that he suffered from a lot of bad luck in recent seasons, relative to his peripherals. People point out the good luck with the Giants, but that could be regression to the mean relative to before. He has averaged roughly 70% DOM (which is an elite level) and 11% DIS (which is very good), which should lead to really good seasons for any pitcher, and if he can do that for the Giants, I would be very happy.
Of course, there are (just like for FIP and other advanced metrics) who despite showing the best peripherals, don't get the results expected. And maybe he is one of those. But still, his 2012 season and his 2014 season with the Giants give me a lot of hope and expectation that he can still pitch at an elite enough level for us. Again, got to win enough games during the regular season before we can worry about the playoff rotation.
No word on what this does to Vogelsong, but my gut tells me that this is good-bye to a good Giant. We don't have any space in our rotation or bullpen currently.
Evans did say in an interview that the Giants are still open to signing another starting pitcher, even though technically they have a full rotation with Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum, and now Peavy. Most speculation seems to revolve around getting Shields, but I don't really see any chance of the Giants signing any good starting pitchers to the rotation, but they might pick up someone whom nobody else wants (Vogie?) for a low price as SP insurance (much like how LA has been doing it the past few seasons), though there is no space in the bullpen for such a tactic right now, unless they move Machi or Kontos.
If he has pitched his last, and it appears to strongly be so, then I want to thank him for all the great performances and for making the effort to return home and do well for us, I think all Giants fans will always be grateful for his loyalty to the team and for entertaining us with his great starts over the past few years. I wish him all the best (except against the Giants, natch :).
Me Likey Rotation
If this is our set rotation, I like it. There is some risk with all of the starters, but really, to my mind, nothing more than any other rotation. TINSTAAPP rules the day, mostly, pitchers are fragile.
- Bumgarner I think should be better in 2015 than 2014, for as good as his 2014 was, he actually started the season struggling, perhaps because he was trying to be the ace (his PQS was great in 2013, but his peripherals were even better in 2014).
- Cain has not been Cainer since his Perfecto in 2013. And it turns out that he's been compensating for the chips in his elbow and ache in his ankle for years now. With both healthy now, I don't see why he can't return to his prior goodness of 2011-2012, if not better at some point.
- Hudson had a Hudson type of year. Look at his career, look at his season by season numbers, he is like a machine. I don't care how old he is, he does not rely on velocity to strike out guys, as long as he is healthy, he's going to get MLB batters out. And with Petit around, if his hip is achy again, hopefully the Giants just DL him to get him healthy faster (plus less stress on his body), put Petit in the rotation for 2-3 starts so that he can prepare well for each start and do well.
- Lincecum is the biggest question mark but here is what I see. Every year he struggles, but every year he has a period where he's as good as he's ever been. You don't do that if your velocity is that low and bad now (as some speculates), your velocity can't suddenly be good after being bad during a season, without mechanical changes, and the record shows, in any case, his velocity to be steadily dropping and thus is not the reason he is suddenly good again. You don't strike out around 9 per 9 innings without having your stuff still. Last year he had a hiccup early, but ended it relatively quickly, and was one of our best starters throughout much of the middle of the season. He had a good 3.65 ERA when he sacrificed his routine to save that long extra-inning game, and given that he was crappy afterward, he did something bad to his mechanics by doing that save appearance. So I expect his Dad's major contributions to be two fold: helping him to keep his mechanics in good shape so that he pitches well (he has reportedly stated that listening to Tim's starts enables him to know what Tim is doing wrong with his mechanics), and helping him to get out of his longer funks sooner than later.
- Peavy, in spite of the shortened seasons on his record (injuries generally do hell to your PQS and DOM%/DIS% before you are finally DLed), probably has the best DOM% of the rotation over the past 6 seasons, and he continued that while he was with the Giants. This is why I wanted him so badly for the rotation until I learned about his poor record in the playoffs then he continued to do poorly, which drove me to not want him anymore. I'll admit to over reaction during the playoffs, in the heat of the battle. Now, especially with the Lincecum revelation of him not working with his Dad since the 2009 season, I feel good enough about the rest of the rotation that I welcome Peavy back into the Giants fold.
Most teams would be happy to have a #3 starter with those stats. We have one as our long reliever. Now THAT is depth, nothing like the Dodgers, who had a lot of starting pitchers lined up, but guys like Maholm who are at best back of rotation starters.
I think a lot of people don't understand the concept of depth. Just having a pitcher ready to step in is not depth to me. Depth is being able to bring in someone and the rotation does not skip much of a beat with the change. Teams rarely have that, but we had it with Bumgarner in 2010, Vogelsong in 2011, and now Petit the past couple of seasons. Maholm allowed the Dodgers to limp along in the rotation, but he was no depth when Kershaw or Ryu were out, not even close. And when the Giants needed a replacement starter, they were able to trade for one in Peavy, who was much better replacement starter than Maholm. That's not always possible to pull off, but, again, having a Maholm stashed away don't make it a good thing either.